Disney After Dark: 80's Night

Totally 80's
A little recap on the awesomeness that was the Disneyland After Dark: 80's Night!

What is Disneyland After Dark?
The Disneyland Resort offers various special "after hours" events throughout the year. Each of these unique theme events are a separate ticket for entry speciifically for these parties. So if you plan on visiting the park prior to the event, you'd still need general admission. Luckily for people attending these special ticketed events, you're allowed early entry into park (where the event is held) up to 3 hours prior to the official after hours party start time. For example, 80's night officially began at 9pm, but our ticket allowed party guest entry at 6pm. Each after dark night comes with a unique and fun Disney theme, special entertainment, rare character meets, special merchandise and more event only offerings. Here's the 2020 "After Dark" roster:

January 29th, 2020: 80's Night

February 12 or 13th, 2020: Sweethearts Night

March 5, 2020: Pixar Night (Held at Disney California Adventure Park)

April 30th, 2020: Villains Night (Held at Disney California Adventure Park)

August 27th, 2020: Star Wars Night

You can find out more on the official Disneyland After Dark page, including ticket information HERE

I Heart the 80's
PB and I are 80's kids. We were both born in the 80's and most of our childhood memories stemmed from the music, the culture and the food of the 1980's. So when we saw this theme on the After Dark roster we were intrigued. In fact, it was PB's idea to come down for this event. PB is the BIGGEST 80's fan, he loves the music and memories of everything 80's. So he was the one most excited about attending, which is truly a first for us in our Disney history together!

Awesome Style
What's great about these events is that you're able to go all out into the assigned theme for the night. Disneyland has strict costuming rules on a daily basis, so aside from the official Halloween Parties at the resort, these After Dark events allow guests of all ages to dress the part and come in fun costumes and outfits. Guidelines still apply, but for the most part you can really get creative with your outfits!

PB spent the longest time trying to decide on what to wear. He went from mullet/fanny pack guy, to neon track suit, to his eventual 80's hip hop "Run MICKEY" inspired look. For me? there was no doubt that I wanted to channel the 80's icon "Mousercise". I went for a more classic Minnie look and ended up being "Jazzercise Jenn" and fully committed with full 80's hair and all! As for our little Ben? Naturally, he had to be our little "Boom Box Ben" to go with his crazy parent's get ups.
My best tip for attending any of these After Dark events is to dress the theme. It makes it so much more fun! We saw SO MANY amazing 80's inspired outfits throughout the night. It was totally awesome.

Totally Radical Times
We flew into SoCal just a few hours prior the the event, so we weren't able to arrive right at 6pm when pre-admission for the event took place. From what I saw from friends who did arrive early were that a few stationary photo ops were already set up and ready for use. Guests arriving early can also begin to scope out the event since wristbands, event credentials (your pass) and event map guides are distributed at this time. So if a certain rare character greet or food item catches your eye you can make your way over or get in line.

Most of the special event offerings like food, characters and merchandise are only available during the event hours, so lines can get pretty long for some of the more popular or rare offerings. If special characters or merchandise isn't your thing, there's a ton of entertainment options these events offer, too. The night of the 80's party winds were too high so the 80's inspired fireworks were cancelled. But there was plenty of other fun things going on that kept us plenty occupied. Here's a few highlights of what we experienced and loved:

Rare Characters
I love meeting characters, as does Ben. So one of our top priorities for the night was to meet a few of special characters only out for this event. Disney will bring out rarely seen characters or classics dressed up in themed attire.

Our top priority was to meet Mousercise Mickey since it fit with mine and Ben's outfit theme. We arrived at the party around 8pm, an hour before the official start time and made a beeline for the Mickey meet and greet area. We saw that the line for another set of special characters, Duck Tales was already pretty long but surprisingly we didn't see the Mickey meet and greet anywhere. With a huge dose of luck, we were told by a CM that the Mickey greet wasn't set up yet, hence no line yet, but she told us to stay in the area so we could be one of the first to meet him when the line was officially set up. It worked out just being in the right place at the right time and we ended up being 3rd in line to meet him, technically bypassing a long wait later in the evening!
The only other character we met was Roger Rabbit since we noticed his line was not crazy towards the end of the night. The feedback I got from other friends from the event was that most character lines were long, but nothing horrendous... with exception of the special Ewok meet and greet. This party exclusive greet apparently was so popular it had wait times anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours.

One of the best things about this event was the music and fun 80's atmosphere all around the park. There were several live DJ areas and musical offerings around the park. Our favorite was Videopolis! A literal recreation of the popular dance party area back in the Disney 80's era. It was like being transported back into time with the large TV screens, music and dance shows. I'm sure PB could have spent all night here just dancing it out to all his favorite 80's jams.
It was just so amazing to walk anywhere around the park and have some sort of 80's era music or vibe follow you. The best part of these themed events in my personal opinion.

Another special offering for these After Dark events are special menu offerings only being sold for the event. Lines can get crazy long for some of these options, but some places do accept mobile ordering, so be sure to check and place those orders on your Disneyland mobile app to avoid the lines if you can.
Since the event was so late and we had filled up on dinner before getting into the park we didn't sample too many foods. We did try the spinach artichoke dip and the rainbow gelatin, both of which were pretty yummy! One of the top items many people flock to are the specialty churros. We noticed lines for them were long at the start of the event but died down towards the end of the night.

With every event comes an offering of special merchandise. The lines for merchandise were pretty crazy at the start of the event, but we were able to walk into the pop up shop with ease at the end of the night. Granted, some special edition items were already sold out, but I was still able to sang an event tee and I saw a few other items still in stock.

Overall Thoughts
We LOVED 80's night and this won't be our last After Dark event for sure. So if you're wondering if we thought it was worth the extra ticketed price? We'd 100% say yes! Here's some tips that might be helpful if you're considering going to one of these events:

Arrive Early:
You'll be able to scope out the party offerings and prioritize what you want to do, who you want to meet and what you'd want to eat.

pick your top things to do in each category or for your personal preference. Want to try all the churros? Pick your top 3. Want to meet a certain character? Pick your top one and go from here. With only 4 hours of party time, it's hard to pack everything in the timeframe, so pick your top 3 experiences and go from there.

Get into the theme:
I mentioned this above, but it's so much more fun dressing up and getting into the theme. You won't be disappointed!

No Wait times:
If you're keen on riding attractions, these after dark events are the perfect time to do so. We found there was little to no wait times for most rides. So enjoy this walk ons and attractions in between enjoying the special event activities!

Little Ones
We love experiencing these things with Ben, but the late night timeframe of these events aren't too ideal for littles. We ended up taking him because we had to since we didn't have any other childcare options and we figured he'd just sleep in his stroller if he got tired. Ben is normally a late bird and sleeps late, but due to our travel day and not getting a good nap in earlier in the day he started to get grumpy and sleepy pretty early on. If you do decide to bring your littles, make sure they get a good nap in pre-party so that they're rested. Or bring essentials like PJ's, a comfy blanket or anything to make a stroller park snooze more ideal for them. It'll be a a fun time regardless, but if you have an option to go kidless, this may be an event to do so.

Truly Outrageous and Tubular memories
Disney After Dark events are such a fun way experience the parks in a new way. We loved our first After Dark event and hopefully we're able to attend more of these magical events in the future. Until then, thanks for reading along! 💜

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